This is an online book showcasing the long journey of a young woman who meets challenges and discovers a sense of self while facing adventure and peril.
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By: Ramona Kent
Anomar was drifting in and out of consciousness; she thought she heard someone calling her name; it seemed far away, Anomar! Anomar! The voices were getting further and further away. She felt as though she were spinning in a vortex and flying through space at the same time, there was a darkness all around her and then everything went black, there was only void, and then a gentle, peaceful feeling over came her, and then unfathomable sleep…
Awakened by a loud crack of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightning, Anomar felt salt water splashing her in the face, it burned her eyes. She looked around to get her bearings and realized she was floating on some sort of raft in the open ocean. It was dark but not pitch black, with each flash of lightning she could see the swells of the ocean moving up and down, some of the waves were at least ten feet high. The rain was stinging her in the face, it felt like needles piercing her skin; She had nothing to hold on to except a rope that was tied to the corner of the raft. The waves were getting higher and she was bobbing up and down like a cork, the tiny raft was about twelve feed wide and not much longer, she could barely hold a steady grip so she decided to tie the rope around her waist to keep from being swept off and thrown into the sea. On and on the storm raged, Anomar was being tossed from one side to the other, her knees and elbows were cut and bruised, salt water continued to splash her in the face until she became strangled and vomited. Terror had completely over taken her and she let out a guttural scream that was drowned out by the defining roar of the storm.
The next morning Anomar awoke to find herself floating in the water, the only thing that was keeping her close to the raft was the tattered rope that she had tied around her waist. The clothes she had on were almost torn to shreds, sometime during the night she must have fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion. She looked all around but all she could see is endless water. At least the ocean was calm and still. A gentle breeze was blowing and Anomar could see a flaming orange sunrise hanging low in the eastern sky. Grabbing on to the rope she pulled herself closer and with all the strength she had left she managed to climb back onto the raft. Dazed and confused no matter how hard she tried she could not remember where she came from or how she got there, all she could do is try to survive, she would have to ponder those questions later on…
Seven days had passed, Anomar was constantly sick, the motion of the raft was maddening, she had managed to make it through the nights by sleeping through most of them but when she awoke in the mornings, she realized the blazing sun would soon be there to torture her. Her lips were cracked and peeling, her skin was blistered and there were open sores that were beginning to form all over her body from the salt water splashing on her. Amazingly though, the only thing she could concentrate on was her raging thirst. She was weak from hunger but she managed to devise a way of fishing in hopes of catching one of the small fish that often swam around the raft. She tore off a piece of her tattered skirt and ripped it into six or seven foot long pieces, she shredded the ends hoping the fish would be attracted by the movement of the homemade lure. She pulled the laces from her boots and tied them around a stick that she dislodged from the raft and used that as well. Everything that she could possibly utilized for her survival had a purpose.
Anomar lay on her stomach for hours with a lure in each hand, her back and neck felt as though it would break into but suddenly and without warning, a large iridescent green fish broke the surface of the water, jumping high into the air and landed right on top of her. With a renewed burst of adrenaline Anomar swung into action, almost as if by reflex she reached out to grab the huge slippery fish and hold on to it with all her might. The big fish was strong, writhing and wriggling in her arms but Anomar was determined not to let it get away, she knew instinctively that her life depended on it. After struggling with it for what seemed like an hour or more, it finally became calm enough for her to maneuver it up underneath her skirt, where she promptly sat on it until it stopped moving completely.
In her weakened state of mind Anomar had lost all concept of time and she did not feel herself nodding off to sleep, but when she awoke it was almost dark and the fish was lying next to her, dead, with a cold blank stare in it’s big black eyes. Two or three hours must have passed since she caught the fish. “Oh well, she didn’t care,” she thought, all she could think about was her raging thirst and never ending hunger. She needed sustenance and she didn’t care what she had to do to get it, slowly Anomar reached down and picked up the fish with both of her trembling hands and brought it to her mouth, she bit down hard so as to penetrate it’s tough skin and she could feel her teeth piercing it’s flesh as she tore out a big chunk.
Almost choking on the cool dark liquid, it felt glorious as it drained down her parched throat, ripping and tearing at the bloody flesh with her mouth, she ate like a ravenous mad dog until her hunger and thirst was completely quenched. After a while she became aware of what she must have looked like and became sick. When she finally had her fill she sat up and looked around her, the sea was like glass, the sun had set and it was dark but in the vast darkness she saw a full moon beginning to rise, it had an eerie glow but she anticipated the comfort of it’s light.
As the night wore on a gentle warm breeze started to blow and everything was bathed in moonlight, invigorated from the protein in the fish, Anomar started to regain some of her energy, her vision was clearing up and her muscles started to relax. The moon was shining brightly now, enough so she could see that the raft was covered in blood, she sat for a moment and decided to clean the rest of the flesh off the carcass of the fish, she knew she would definitely need what was left to get her through the next day or until she could catch another one. The night wore on and Anomar was almost done picking the bones clean, she tore off small pieces of her skirt into squares, she placed handfuls of her left over fish in the center and tied the corners together, then she slid them onto a stick she had pulled off the raft and wedged it in between two of the logs, she then bound it tightly so it was secure.
Anomar could not risk losing such precious cargo, she salvaged every scrap of the fish that she possibly could, she scraped the skin with part of a broken stick and used the oils to rub onto her dry and blistered lips, it was such a welcome comfort. She had no idea where she was or what was going to happen to her but she felt surprisingly at peace and very pleased with her accomplishments. Growing weary from her chores she decided to try and wash away the blood that still covered the raft and had begun to smell.
Reaching over the edge she splashed water up onto the raft to rinse it off but most of the blood had already dried and there was not much she could do to rid herself of the reeking mess she had made. Tired and feeling nauseated, Anomar finally fell asleep, her sleep was fitful though, it was filled with dreams of places far away and familiar people seemingly involved in organized chaos. The night dragged on, Anomar was tossing and turning, she felt trapped, imprisoned, but most of all, overwhelming loneliness, she heard herself crying out in the night and she awoke with a start. Had she been dreaming? Or did she really hear something? She rubbed her eyes and looked around, the sea was still calm, the breeze had died down and the moon was hanging low in the night sky, its glow was glistening, beautiful, but yet ominous somehow. Maybe she was just letting her imagination run away from her, after all she had been through it was no wonder but just then, Anomar saw something that would make her blood run cold. A large black fin rose up out of the water and then slowly sank beneath the surface, it was so close that she could almost reach out and touch it.
She sat completely still and did not breathe, blinking her eyes open and shut she struggled to see all around her and then she felt a hard bump underneath the raft, the only place that she felt safe, now that was being threatened. Now silence, nothing but stillness, she waited, she dared not breathe but then she saw it again, just out of the corner of her eye, they were circling the raft. Sharks!
Anomar knew that sharks were a possibility but she wouldn’t let herself think about it, cold sheer terror was overtaking her but she had to keep her wits about her, she could not panic. Around and around they swam, their aggressiveness getting bolder, Anomar grabbed the tattered rope and put it around her waist, her small thin hands shaking uncontrollably, she tied the knot as tight as she could. She was determined she would fight to her death if she had to. Closer and closer they came, now she could see their black eyes and their enormous teeth as they lifted their heads out of the water, watching her, knowing they could smell the scent of blood from the fish she had caught.
Soon, it became apparent to Anomar that she need to do something to deter their assault and then she remembered the meat that she had preserved earlier, slowly and carefully she reached for the tiny packages of fish and slid them off the stick. All the while the sharks were bumping and banging into the raft until Anomar was afraid it was going to break. Clutching onto the rope and securing herself, she opened one of the packages and flung it into the sea, all of a sudden, there was a loud splashing and violent commotion in the water and Anomar could hear the snapping of their jaws, through the darkness she could see their gruesome heads as they lifted them out of the churning water to devour the bloody flesh of the fish. That fish had saved her life twice that day and she was grateful for it.
Anomar threw the last few pieces of it to the massive sharks that seemed quite satisfied with the meager morsels that she so willingly gave up to them. After a while it was finally quiet, it seemed apparent that they had gotten what they had come for and decided to leave a silently and stealthily as they had come. Dawn was breaking, Anomar was exhausted, she didn’t care if she was eaten by sharks, or swept into the sea, all she wanted to do now was sleep, and as she drifted off she thought she smelled the sweet smell of lavender…
The new morning found Anomar surprisingly refreshed, the sun was shining brightly and the raft was floating gently upon the open sea, the sky was an incandescent blue and Anomar had already gotten most of her fishing lures tied and hung over the side. Repairing the raft was first and foremost on her agenda today, it looked as though the sharks had destroyed a large part of the back side and the ropes that were binding the small logs together were coming untied. Anomar decided to take off all of her clothes and tie them to the raft, she knew she was going to have to enter the water to make the repairs, she didn’t need the extra weight of her clothes that could possibly drag her down if she got tired. Slowly and cautiously, she slid into the water, acutely aware that at any moment sharks or anything else that had been lurking close to the raft could attack her. Once, she had seen a large green sea turtle swimming near by, she watched him as he swam close, even looking at her for a moment, maybe out of curiosity she thought but it didn’t really matter why he was there, his presence gave her comfort and she felt sad and lonely when he disappeared beneath the waves and she wept.
Slowly she eased into the water, Anomar tried to keep a steady grip on the raft to maneuver herself around but the rope that she had tied to her ankle and the incessant bobbing up and down in the water was making it virtually impossible to control her movements. Nevertheless, she kept her mind on the task at hand, constantly wary of her surroundings; It was hard keeping her head above the waves and trying to secure all of the loose ropes. One by one she tied and twisted the lashings into place, her arms and fingers were beginning to cramp up, she could barely feel the rope anymore but she had only one more left to tie down. All of a sudden, Anomar felt a strange stinging sensation on her back, instinctively she reached around to feel what was causing the pain and to her horror she realized that she was floating in the middle of hundreds of globulous jellyfish! How did she not notice their approach? She thought. Anomar ducked her head under water and opened her eyes for a moment to see if she could find an escape route, instead, all she saw were clouds of jellyfish floating and bobbing in every direction. Swimming frantically but yet trying to keep her wits about her, she accomplished nothing except becoming more and more entangled in their stinging tentacles. Her back and legs were on fire, her breathing was becoming raspy, the jellyfish were in her hair and eyes, with their tentacles whipping her in the face as each wave washed over her. Hold on Anomar! She silently shouted at herself, she knew that she had to some how get back onto the raft, her mind was racing and she was getting deathly sick from the venom that was penetrating her skin. The jellyfish were so gentle, so languid and completely oblivious to the power they held and the havoc that they were capable of reeking. The sea was beginning to create huge swells, almost as if it were a silent witness to the pain and terror that she had to endure.
A storm was approaching; The clouds were getting dark and swollen with the torturous rain that Anomar was dreading. She had experienced it’s wrath before, remembering it’s violent assault on her in the days that had since passed. This time though, maybe it would be a welcome reprieve, she had benefited from the rain before, by having it rinse the salt water off her body. She also managed to catch some of the fresh liquid and store it in her boots. Reaching down and remembering the rope she had tied to her ankle, Anomar pulled on it with all her might, finally she was close enough so that she could slip it off and try to haul herself up.
Desperately clinging to the rope, she waited until the next wave came and used it’s buoyancy to lift herself up and onto the safety of the raft. Finally! She made it. Her head was spinning and she was nauseous, she knew she had to get herself secure, she untied the rope from her ankle, her hands trembling uncontrollably, and tied it around her waist as tight as she could stand it. The waves were getting higher and the sky was getting dark with rolling black clouds and fierce thunder, the temperature was dropping and Anomar was getting cold. The waves that began washing over her were freezing and her skin became numb and she could no longer feel the pain from the jellyfish stings, she felt herself slowly drifting off into oblivion and for that, Anomar was thankful…
Edna and James Morrow were just settling down for a quiet evening, the dinner dishes were done and Edna lit the oil lantern and sat it on the table next to her knitting, she was of short stature, five two at the most. She wore her long gray hair twisted into a bun with a silver comb tucked neatly underneath. Her creamy complexion was clear and smooth, with only a few tiny wrinkles around her shiny blue eyes; She didn’t look a day over sixty, although she would be sixty-seven next month. “Sure is getting cold outside, it’s been snowing all day and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be letting up anytime soon.” Edna said, as she looked out the window. It was dark out and she could see the snowflakes blowing against the panes of glass, she reached for her glasses and sat down with her knitting in the old rocking chair by the fireplace. Edna watched as James adjusted the logs and stoked the fire until it was warm and crackling. James was a big man; He always had a smile on his face, gentle and strong. He seemed as though he didn’t have a care in the world. He was a kind man, even though he looked a little rough around the edges. Always wearing overalls with red long johns underneath, a smoking pipe in his pocket and his glasses worn low on his nose. They had lived in the same house all their lives; Their family was grown and had since moved away long ago. It was sort of unspoken but James could tell that Edna had empty nest syndrome. The only thing they had to keep them company was their big lovable dog Dundee, a Newfoundland; He seemed to bring a lot of pleasure to them with some of his antics. Tonight though, he seemed a little restless, peering out from behind Edna’s chair and whining every now and again. Edna responded to his uneasiness with a soft pat on his head. James walked over to the window and glanced out but just before he dropped the small curtain he thought he saw something moving in the snow…
Lying face down and almost completely numb, Anomar awakened to find that she was covered in a billowy white blanket of snow, her head was aching and she could barely move. The snow was falling, thick and silent, like a malevolent force trying to hold on to her with its icy grip. Anomar could barely see through the darkness, her vision was weak and she strained to see the remains of the raft that was lying in pieces close to the rocky seashore. Somehow, she must have made her way up the embankment and passed out from exhaustion. She rose up slowly onto her elbows and knees, looking around she tried to get her barrings, noticing tall trees packed tightly together and perched on a snowy hillside. Where was she? What was she doing all alone in the desolate snow-covered forest? She wondered. Barely able to stand on her weak and wobbly legs, she forced herself to begin walking. On and on she trudged through the blinding snow sinking up to her knees with every step, stopping only when the snow-covered branch of a conifer tree knocked her to the ground. Struggling in the darkness, her breathing becoming short and rapid, the skin on her face was stinging and her fingers were completely stiff. She sat up and starred straight ahead hardly believing what she was seeing. Was it real? Or was her mind playing tricks on her? She closed her eyes for a moment, her eyelashes heavy and covered with ice and then opening them slowly, she realized this was real. She saw a light!
Looking out the window, James was not sure what he was seeing or even if it was real. He called Edna over to make sure that what he was seeing was really there. “Whatever it is, it’s moving!” Edna exclaimed. James reached for his big brown coat that was hanging by the door and quickly put it on and pulled the hood over his head. Dundee was at his side and began to bark loudly, Edna shushed him and held his collar firmly. Slowly and cautiously James opened the door as an icy blast of wind hit him in the face. He trudged out into the mounds of snow and reached down to touch the object that was lying in his path.
Following the light that she saw, Anomar began walking toward it, her movements almost robotic. Her breathing was shallow, and her lungs felt as though they were on fire, she slumped to the ground in a heap. She had gone as far as she could possibly go, she didn’t have the strength to continue any further and fell face first into the snow. A moment later though, as if in dream, she felt herself being lifted up in the air as she slowly drifted into unconsciousness…
The wind was blowing so hard that James could barely see but he quickly realized this was a human being, a young woman, almost frozen and close to death, lying at his feet. Under the watchful eye of Edna and Dundee, who was peering out from the window, James lifted the young girl up and carried her inside. “Bring her over here.” Edna said. Carefully, he brought her over by the fire and gently placed her in his big chair, he watched as Edna began to cover her with blankets. James quickly went over to the stove and put on a kettle of water to make some hot tea. Edna warmed a small towel by the fire and began to wipe the snow and ice from Anomar’s eyes and face. She couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was, her long dark hair fell in a flowing cascade down to her waist and it was matted with ice and dirt. Her skin was pale but smooth and clear, almost like porcelain, Her dark eyelashes stood out in contrast to her light complexion. As Edna removed her wet clothing she could see that she was a very petite but yet strong and sinewy young lady, around twenty-two years old was her best guess. James walked over with a cup of hot tea and sat it down next to Anomar; He gently began removing her wet boots and placed them by the fire. He noticed that her legs were scarred with red welts and her feet were cold and gray; He put them as close to the fire as he could and started to massage them. Dundee whimpered, seemingly concerned as he stood guard leaning close to her chair. Anomar still did not wake up but her color had begun to return. James and Edna took this as a good sign and smiled at each other…
The next morning Anomar awoke to the smell of bacon frying and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Feeling a little disoriented and dizzy, she slowly opened her eyes and saw a large dog staring at her, panting softly with his tongue hanging to one side of his mouth. He had big shiny eyes and a happy but curious look on his face, she moved her weak hand toward him and he began licking her fingers gently. “I see you have met Dundee.” James said as he walked over to where Anomar was sitting. He placed a steaming cup of coffee in her hands and she began drinking it greedily. It was delicious, hot, sweet and creamy. She watched as James put a small log on the fire and wondered, who were these people? Just then, Edna appeared over her shoulder with a large tray of breakfast that she sat in her lap. It looked glorious, there were fried eggs and warm biscuits and jelly, bacon and fresh squeezed orange juice. As Edna adjusted the blankets around Anomar and helped her sit up, she said, “My name is Edna Morrow and this old coot is my husband, James. I see you have already met the other man of the house.” Anomar watched as she reached down and gave Dundee a pat on the head, in which he responded with a loud bark and some raucous licking. “How are you feeling this morning?” Edna asked. Before answering, Anomar thought for a moment and then, in a small cracking voice, she asked, “Where am I?” James looked at her as he tapped his pipe out in the fireplace and said, “We found you outside our door last night, almost frozen in the snow. We live here on Stoney Island, in Nova Scotia.” “Nova Scotia!” Anomar exclaimed. “Yes, we have lived here in this small fishing village all our lives and have never discovered anything like you before.” He said with a wink. Anomar sat rigid with a blank stare on her face, she knew of Nova Scotia but had no other recollection of any memory of her past. Except for her days on the raft. While eating her breakfast, she told them of her experience on the raft in the sea and how she had no remembrance of how she came to be on their doorstep. James and Edna listened intently and gazed at her in bewilderment. When Anomar had finished, Edna took her tray to the kitchen.
“James, it’s time for you to go and take Dundee for his morning walk.” Edna smiled at him as she gave her passing command. “I’m going, but I have to shovel the snow away from the door before anyone gets out of this house.” Said James. Anomar was regaining some of her strength from the nourishing food and started to feel revitalized. Her muscles were stiff though and her joints were aching. She smiled as she watched Dundee wiggling and twisting and waiting impatiently for James to get his coat on. Edna came over and placed a house robe around her and helped her to her feet, she led her down a long hall and into a room where she had drawn her a warm bath…
Anomar soaked in the steaming hot water for more than an hour, she could hear Edna just outside the door sweeping and taking care of her daily chores. As she looked at the swollen blisters and the jellyfish stings on her legs, her thoughts drifted back to her terror filled days aboard the wooden raft. The last thing she remembered was the torrential rain pounding down upon her battered body and the freezing cold that began to envelope her. Somehow, during the storm last night she must have gotten washed ashore by the waves, she was probably closer to land than she previously thought. No matter, she was on solid ground now and she felt safe, so she tried not to think about it anymore. Anomar began to wash her long hair with the sweet-smelling shampoo that Edna had given her, it smelled of lavender. Her energy was coming back and she was feeling consistently stronger, probably from the big breakfast she had just devoured, the first real food that she had eaten in a while.
When Anomar stepped out of the bathroom, Edna was waiting to show her to a bedroom just down the hall, it was very cozy and had its own fireplace, which was already lit and glowing. The walls were mahogany brown. In the corner was a big cheval mirror and beside it was a dressing table with some powder, a hairbrush, some cosmetics and perfume. There was a small window hung with white ruffled curtains. Over on the other side of the room was a big wooden bed covered with a soft white goose down comforter and big fluffy pillows. Laid out on the bed was a pair of blue jeans, a tee-shirt, a pair of socks and a long-sleeved turtle neck sweater. “I think that should be about your size.” Edna said. Anomar noticed that her boots were sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, clean and dry. She looked at Edna with tears in her eyes, her voice cracking and said, “I don’t know what to say or how to thank you for your kindness and for saving my life, there are just no words to tell you how I feel.” Edna reached for a tissue off the dressing table and wiped away Anomar’s tears and said matter of factly, “ I know. Now dry your eyes and get dressed, I want to show you something.”
As Edna left the room, she felt quite pleased with herself for collecting the large box of clothing left over from last years church rummage sale, James chided her for keeping ‘that old junk’, as he called it, but she ignored his gripes and told him to mind his own business. Once Anomar had her clothes on, she stared at her reflection in the mirror, she wondered who she was, she noticed that she was thin and pale with dark circles under her big brown eyes. Slowly she let out a sigh and left the room. She found Edna in the living room waiting for her, already dressed and bundled up to go outside. “Here, put this on.” Edna said, as she handed Anomar a long black coat, a sweater hat and a pair of gloves. She followed Edna out the door and they made their way around the side of the house on a path that led to a stairway up to the roof. As they climbed the stairs, Edna cautioned her to be careful, not to slip and fall and to hang on to the handrail for extra safety. When they finally reached the top, there was a walkway painted white and gray, covered in snow on an upper deck, with railings on all sides that went across from one side to the other.
The awesome beauty of what she was seeing took her breath away. Edna began to explain to her that she had lived there on Stoney Island all her life. When she married James, they moved inland and built their house high upon a rocky hillside in a remote pristine wilderness. They owned around fourteen acres; Most of it was untouched virgin land. The sun was shining brilliantly down upon everything that was covered in white; All of her surroundings and the nearby conifer forests were glistening like tiny diamonds blowing in the wind from the melting snow. From their perch, she could see a lighthouse and the ocean with powerful waves blowing against its rocky shore and a soft mist hanging low over the water in the distance. In the corner there was a large telescope bolted down with a stool beside it covered in a blanket of ice, probably used for star-gazing, she thought. “This is called a ‘Widow’s Walk’.” Edna described softly. All the houses in the area had them. “In the old days when the fisherman would set out to sea, their wives would go to the roof of the house after they had been gone a month or so to get a better view and wait to see when or if their husbands would return. Sometimes they didn’t. They often would peer through a telescope scanning the horizon, hoping for a glimpse of their loved ones ship.” Edna had a sad look on her face as though she were in deep thought.
Anomar could see James down below shoveling the snow off the path that led up to the house; Dundee was barking and bounding in the billowy mounds that were up to his chin. She watched as he happily chased his shadow and tried to stir up mischief with anything he came in contact with. “You must be getting cold, I know I am.” Edna said. Glancing at Anomar’s wind burned cheeks. Anomar was staring off in the distance and quietly asked, “Edna, what day is this?” Edna had a questioning look on her face and replied, “ It’s May 21st 1967.” “Oh.” Said Anomar with a glazed look in her eye.
That night Anomar’s sleep was peaceful in the soft warm bed and cozy room; She could feel the weight of Dundee, who had insisted upon sleeping with her pressing warmly up against her feet. Her dreams were filled with people and far away places that she knew so well, conversations took place, she interacted with those people in her dreams. Where were they? Who were they? Would she ever know?…
Weeks had passed and James and Edna persuaded Anomar to stay with them as long as she wanted. They told her she would have a home there as long as she felt she wanted their company. So, Anomar obliged them and took them up on their offer of hospitality. She spent her days exploring the rocky seaside of Stoney Island. Always at her side was her constant companion Dundee, ready to run and play with exuberance that could not be contained.
Her nights were spent with Edna and James sitting by the warm fireplace and listening to his stories of his earlier seafaring days and his adventures. In the evening, she looked forward to helping Edna prepare their dinner, which always included lobster or some other delicious delicacy from the sea. James was a fisherman as was his grandfather and had made his living from the sea. They had seen many hardships living in such a desolate place over the years. The winters were hard but they had always persevered. Anomar wondered if James and Edna ever had any children but decided not to ask for fear that she would offend them some how. Although, one day, as she and Dundee were returning from one of their seaside excursions, she was pleasantly surprised to find Edna and a young man at the top of the stone path that led to the house, waiting for her. Anomar was out of breath from tugging on Dundee’s leash and her long hair was a mess from the strong sea breeze. She made her way to where he and Edna were standing, she released the clasp off Dundee’s leash and watched as he ran and jumped up on the young man.
“Whoa, down boy.” He shouted, as he reached down and through it toward the house. As Anomar watched their playfulness she felt a little apprehensive because she knew that introductions were in order. She had felt the same way when James and Edna asked if she knew what her name was and she replied that she did. The only reason that she thought she knew her name was Anomar was because she had heard someone calling her that in her dreams. “Anomar!” “Come and meet my grandson, Seth.” Edna called. As Anomar walked toward them, she was conscious of their eyes upon her. Seth reached out his hand and she lightly shook it and said hello. She noticed that he had dark wavy hair; He was tall and had piercing ice blue eyes, just like Edna’s. Seth starred at her as she came up the steps, he wanted to glance away when she looked at him but found that he couldn’t because thought she was breathtaking. “You must be tired from walking with that big monster.” He said, pointing in the direction of Dundee, who was lying in the grass upside down, happily munching on a stick. “Yes, I thought I wasn’t going to make it back, he has more energy than I do.” She declared. They were all laughing as they started walking toward the house. “Would you like to stay for dinner Seth?” Edna asked. “Of course I will, don’t you know that is the only reason I come here?” He teased, giving Edna a small kiss on the cheek.
Anomar felt as though she couldn’t take her eyes off this charming young man and caught herself staring at him from time to time throughout dinner. It was almost as if Seth could sense this feeling radiating from her and he cast his eyes in another direction when he felt her gaze upon him. James had a roaring fire blazing in the fireplace and Dundee was piled up asleep on the rug almost too close. James walked over and pulled him and the rug away from the fire as Dundee lay still quietly sleeping…
The table was set with candles and Edna’s good china, she had made lobster bisque that was rich and creamy filled with potatoes, cheese and lots of other seafood, There was hot crusty bread and corn pudding. The aromas wafting from the food was intoxicating. Anomar poured sweet tea in everyone’s glasses before taking her own seat. Through the conversation at dinner, she learned that Seth had just returned from the sea, he was an ice fisherman and worked six to nine months out of the year on an ocean vessel. Seth explained that he would only be ashore for a couple of months during the short summer and then he would be leaving again in the fall. He lived in a small apartment close to town but he rarely stayed there, instead, he preferred to spend his time on the small sailboat that he owned and had docked in the harbor.
Anomar noticed that he didn’t ask her any direct questions about her stay there with his grandparents. No doubt, James and Edna had already informed him of her perils and sudden appearance during the snow storm. She could tell that he did not want to embarrass her by prying. She was thankful for his compassion. Dinner was over and Edna began clearing the dishes from the table, as James walked over to the fireplace and filled his pipe with cherry tobacco. Dundee had woken up from his nap and was waiting patiently at the door, hoping that someone would be willing to take him for an evening walk. Seth went over to Edna and gave her a hug and thanked her for the wonderful dinner. “It’s been a long time since I have had any of your home cooked meals grandma.” He said with a big grin on his face. Dundee came over and jumped up on Seth with his two front paws resting on his shoulders. “Well, I guess you are ready to go for an evening stroll in the moonlight right?” He asked Dundee while scratching his head. Well, maybe I will take you if you can persuade Anomar to go with us. Seth said jokingly. “How about it? Would you like to come too Anomar?” She hesitated for a second and then smiled at them both and said “Sure, let me get my coat and hat.” As Anomar walked back to her bedroom to get her things, she didn’t know why but she seemed to have butterflies in her stomach.
When she returned, Seth held the door open and Dundee bounded out ahead of them and down the snow-covered path. Anomar held her breath for just a moment, because this was the first time she had been outside in the dark since that fateful night when she nearly perished. Her fear subsided though, once she noticed the overwhelming beauty that surrounded them. The moonlight was shining down upon the conifer trees and the glistening snow, giving it a shimmering aura and everything was bathed in its glowing iridescence. Seth whistled in a high pitch for Dundee who ignored his efforts completely but then came tearing back at a full gallop and began to run circles around them. They were both laughing and trying to catch him because they knew he was thoroughly enjoying his fine game. After a while he grew bored and took off again until he disappeared into the distance.
Seth took Anomar’s hand and guided her toward the stairs that led to the widows walk. Carefully, stepping lightly, they made their way to the top. Anomar was admiring the vista from above in the moonlight and it gave her a warm feeling of enchantment. Seth was adjusting the telescope and pointing it toward the stars that looked like crystal diamonds but focused on the moon in the cloudless sky. He was peering through the view finder for a moment and asked, “would you like to have a look?” Anomar observed the view through the lens and marveled at the intense illumination of the radiant sphere.
“It looks as if you could almost touch it.” She replied. Just then, a long mournful sound pierced the air resonating far off in the distance and broke the silence of the night. Anomar was startled for a moment but Seth reassured her and explained that it was just a bull moose and that mating season would be starting soon. “Probably calling for his true love.” He said with a wink. “Perhaps.” She agreed. At that moment Anomar could feel herself blushing.
The wind started to pick up so, they made their way back down the stairs where Dundee was waiting to escort them back into the warm house. Seth said his good-bye’s and Anomar watched out the window as he strolled down the stone path whistling to himself until he was out of sight. She spent the rest of her evening curled up on her bed with a book and a cup of Edna’s hot chocolate, she felt warm and content. Dundee was already asleep by her fireplace where he had taken to spending his nights.
The next few weeks passed uneventfully and Anomar looked forward to Seth’s visits which were becoming more frequent as the seasons changed and the days grew warmer. There were many occasions when Anomar would make a picnic lunch and she, Seth and Dundee of course, would go down to the seaside to watch James set out for the day on his old fishing boat. They would spend the days roaming up and down the rocky shore searching for sea glass and other fine treasures the surf washed ashore.
Seth taught her how to cast a throw net and explained to her that the device was used to catch small fish and crabs close to the shore. It took her a while to get the hang of it but after a few tries she became very skillful and hauled in quite a large bounty. Some days they would go out to sea with James and she watched as he and Seth would set the black fish nets and pull them behind the big trawler. It was always fun to see them reel in their nets and she marveled at the generosity of the sea as they deposited their catch onto the deck of the boat.
One day, as she was walking the seaside alone, Anomar discovered what looked like a small cave perched high above the shore up on an embankment, she thought it might be a great place to explore if she could find a way to climb up there. The mouth of the cave was wide and dark; There were tiny purple flowers and thick green ferns growing all around the outside. The entrance was almost covered with a long green canopy of ivy hanging low to the ground. As Anomar stared up at it, a feeling of foreboding came over her and a chill ran up her spine. She didn’t know why but for some reason this dark cavern held a mystique and seemed as though it was beckoning her.
All of her days spent there on Stoney Island seemed to be a healing time for Anomar but she could not forget her time aboard the raft and wondered how she came to be there. There was so many unanswered questions. Who were the voices that were haunting her dreams? Why were they so familiar? Would she ever know?
Edna and James seemed to sense her distance and noticed her drifting away in thought from time to time. They understood and left her alone. Dundee showed his sympathy as well during these times and laid his big head in her lap and sighed. Anomar was sad and she didn’t know why. Maybe it was because Seth would be leaving soon to go back offshore and she was dreading it. He had become one of her best friends and she felt herself growing very fond of him. She knew he felt the same way about her. Seth asked if she would still be here when he returned but Anomar evaded his questions. She didn’t know why but she could sense her time here would be limited…
Early the next morning, Anomar was awakened to the sound of Dundee scratching to get out the door. James was outside patching some holes in his tattered fish nets and Edna was collecting some items to donate to one of her church charities. “I will be gone most of the day, James and Dundee will be gone fishing and probably won’t be home until after dark.” Edna said, as she handed her a plate of breakfast. Anomar sat down at the kitchen table and poured herself a cup of hot coffee. “I will be gone too, I found an interesting new place that I haven’t been to yet on the south side of the island. I thought I would do some exploring in a cave that I caught sight of the other day, just to see what I can discover.” Anomar said, with a laugh. “Well, you better be careful, there is a legend that some of the older folks on this island still believe, they say that people have gone into that cave and have never returned. Of course I don’t believe any of that nonsense but it pays to keep your guard up.” Edna warned. “I will, don’t worry.” Anomar said.
She cleaned up her dishes and went to her room to pack her knapsack. She filled it with everything she thought she would need for her outing, a picnic lunch including some of James’s fish jerky, a pair of leather gloves, a rope, a small blanket, some matches and a flashlight. She grabbed a magnifying glass from Edna’s sewing box in case she wanted to examine some of the formations on the cave walls. All of this stuff would come in handy at some point, she reckoned. Anomar dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, a jacket and her boots, even though it was warm out she figured it might be cold inside the cave. Strangely enough, she was getting really excited about her plans for the day. On her way out the door she waved to James and Dundee as they headed down the path toward their fishing boat. Edna was already gone but had reminded her to lock the door when she left. As she set out on her jaunt down the seaside she wondered about Seth, it had been a week since he made his departure back out to sea aboard the fishing trawler. It would be another nine months that he would be offshore and she was sad to see him go, she knew she would miss him but looked forward to his return.
Anomar had been keeping a steady pace down the rocky coast and had probably gone a couple of miles when she finally came to the bottom of the cliff where the cave was located. As she looked up she could see the opening of the entrance and she wondered how perilous it would be to for her to scale the embankment. Carefully, she started climbing the jagged edges and began her ascent to the top. Placing her hands and feet on the small ledges seemed easy enough once she began. Moving cautiously, she was beginning to feel rather positive until she slipped. Down she slid, rocks and debris battering her in the face and for a moment she thought she was going to slam into the rocks below, she dared not look down because she was at least sixty-five feet off the ground. Taking a deep breath, she looked over her shoulder and saw the waves crashing against the rocks below, slowly she regained her footing and finally made her way up and onto the plateau where the cave was perched. Anomar walked toward the mouth of the cave, it was breathtakingly beautiful, small crystal clear puddles of water lay before the entrance, still and silent, with a mirror like surface. The little purple flowers that burst forth from the green fern that surrounded the outside of the cave had an iridescent glow about them.